THE BATTLESHIP CAPTAIN GAME SYSTEM
Battleship Captain is a "miniatures" game system with scenarios played on the tabletop or floor, using the rules and ship counters provided. The game emphasizes playability, as players maneuver their ships and try and defeat the enemy fleet. Historical scenarios range in size from small (such as River Plate and Denmark Strait, which have only four or five ships) to large (such as Tsushima and Jutland, which involve dozens). Plus, with the hundreds and hundreds of historical warships, you can create your own hypothetical engagements. The ship counters (measuring 42mm x 11mm) are printed in black ink on colored cardstock, and need to be mounted and separated prior to play. Of course, you may elect to increase the spectacle of play and use your own metal miniatures if you wish. Game scale is seven turns per hour, and 1000 yards per inch. Capital ships (light cruiser class and larger) are rated, right on their counter, in the following categories: name, nationality, ship type, year, flotation, stern-broadside-bow fire ratings, fire rating, movement, armor, and nine "special characteristics" ratings, plus an overhead scale view of the ship's deck. Destroyers and armed merchants are rated but not named; these 250 generic counters can thus cover hundreds of ships in various classes.
The game has been designed so that warships perform on the tabletop as they did in real life. In general, the higher a ship's Flotation rating, the harder it is to sink. Three knots translates into one movement factor (in other words, a ship with a top speed of 27 knots has a movement rating of 9). Armor is the protection rating of the ship; the higher the rating, the tougher it is to damage the ship through fire combat. Armor ratings are based on the thickness and quality of main belt armor, as well as general protection allotted to the ship's vitals. Fire ratings are given in stern-broadside-bow order, with higher numbers of course being more effective. Fire ratings are based on gun size. number, and quality, in relation to fire control considerations. As ships take hits, they lose speed as they take flotation damage, or firepower (reflected by Fire Level letters) when they take turret/fire control damage. Special ratings reflech characteristics regarding range modifiers, how often a ship may fire torpedoes, how particularly thin deck armor may be more susceptible to plunging fire, and more. Ships are divided by type: B (pre-dreadnought battleship), BB (dreadnought battleship), BC (battlecruiser), PB (pocket battleship), OB (offshore/obsolete battleship), AC (armored cruiser), C (crusier/protected cruiser), CA (heavy cruiser), CL (light cruiser), DD (destroyer); merchants are rated as being regular or armed. Being a game about surface naval combat, aircraft carriers and submaries are not covered in the game. Battleship Captain allows you to play all the surface combat situations (and examine all of the ships) from throughout the age of the battleship... all with one set of rules, and one unified game system.
Game play is straightforward. Ships maneuver (either individually or in formation) and when in range, can fire on the enemy. Faster moving ships have the advantage of moving after slower ships have executed their move, thus acknowleding the importance of speed during encounters. The sequence of play is: ships move half their speed for the turn; ships may fire; ships move the rest of their movement for the turn; ships may fire. That constitutes a complete game turn. Usually, a ship may fire only once per complete turn. When firing, you roll a single six-sided on the Fire Combat Table, and calulate first of all if the target was hit, then what damage (if any) occurred by rolling on a separate table. There are four different types of damage: T (turret/fire control), F (flotation), D (deck), and S (superstructure). When a ship gets damage markers, it looses effectiveness. Special damage and critical hits are taken care of by the Special Damage Table, so catastrophic hits are indeed possible.
PRE-DREADNOUGHT, WORLD WAR I, & WORLD WAR II ERAS
Each of the three eras has its own rules for maximum firing range, how torpedoes are handled, formation rules, and so on. The battle of Tsushima will, therefore, see ships with the larger guns having a maximum range of 12,000 yards, while battleships at Jutland can fire up to 20,000 yards, and World War II guns 13" and larger can fire 28,000 maximum. (Gun range is dependent on gun size, era, and what (if any) optional rules are being utilized... and, naturally enough, fire is more effective at closer ranges). Different eras had different tactical considerations, so a squadron of pre-dreadnoughts must be handled quite differently than later eras to have maximum effectiveness. While the game was designed to use ships of a common era in battle against the enemy, since the rating system is consistent, gamers may play a myriad of "what if?" situations between warships of different eras. You'll be better able to appreciate the speed, firepower and overall excellence of, say, the USS Iowa class of battleships by comparing them with vessels of previous times and navies.
OPTIONAL RULES & SCENARIOS
Plenty of optional rules that create more chrome and detail are provided but they have remained "options," so players can craft the level of detail they are most comfortable with. (A list of some of the options include: ammunition levels, fire control coordination, incremental fire odds, smoke, crew quality, docked ships, shore batteries, detailed weather rules, Fire Rages (out of control fire on ships due to previous damage), scuttling, special rules for destroyers and merchants, mines, ramming, striking, flash vulnerability, extreme range for guns, and more.) The game design emphasizes the three main aspects of naval theory and construction: speed, firepower, and protection. There are trade offs among these categories, and Battleship Captain graphically illustrates the pros and cons of different ship designs. You will be able to tell, at a glance, the relative strengths and weaknesses of particular ships. Knowing these are key in handling them in battles. This information (Ship Ratings, by Era and Class) is also provided in tabular form as part of the rules.
It truly puts gamers in the role of opposing "battleship captains" and allows them to maneuver and replay all the classic situations on the high seas. It's all here, a comprehensive tour de force in a single package, with over one thousand four hundred ship counters!
THE PERFECT GIFT FOR...
Battleship Captain will appeal to gamers who value historicity and playabilty, and will be appreciated by board wargamers and miniature wargamers alike. The amount of data contained in the ship ratings can in itself be treated as reference material. The game is suited to naval rookies and veterans, since the standard rules are not difficult to learn, while the optional rules add layers of sophistication that "old salts" would expect. And, it's a complete package. You do not need to spend additional money on miniatures; everything you need to play is already included, meaning you can get into play immediately. With the rules and options and ships, you will have the means to recreate almost any actual or hypothetical surface encounter occuring between 1890 and 1945.
2nd EDITION UPGRADE KIT
Owners of BATTLESHIP CAPTAIN first edition: You can upgrade to the 2nd edition by purchasing the 2nd edition update kit. This includes (1) the new rulebook, and (2) four new counter sheets (in the larger, 64mm x 17mm first edition size). The game system and ship ratings have not changed. However, several new optional rules, and over two hundred new ships, have been provided. One new option -- Alternative Fire Damage Allocation -- provides a brand new way of assigning T damage, based on the target's aspect to the firer. Now, when Exeter approaches Graf Spee bow on with guns blazing and receives T damage, chances are its bow turrets will receive the brunt of the effect. Other new options include Searchlights, Command Control, Different Ammunition Types, Long Lance Torpedoes, enhanced introductory and designer's notes, and more. The new ships (sheets #25 through #28) measure 64mm x 17mm, and include 24 "What If?" ships that were never completed, 120 new cruisers (from all the eras), and an additional sheet of around 80 destroyers. So, components from the first edition are still used, except the new material provides opportunity for enhanced play. Veteran players of Battleship Captain will no doubt appreciate what the 2nd edition has to offer. You may purchase the 2nd edition update kit, and will be all set.
LARGE COUNTER SET
BATTLESHIP CAPTAIN Large Ship Counter Set: You may purchase a complete set of large counters (64mm x 17mm), countersheets #1 through #28. Sold as a complete set only, individual sheets not sold separately. (For rationale about 1st and 2nd ed. ship sizes, scroll down to bottom of this page.)
HOW TO ORDER... Ordering is easy. Just visit the NAVAL GAME PAGE, and scroll down
towards the bottom to find the BATTLESHIP CAPTAIN products.
BATTLESHIP CAPTAIN 2nd edition